Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake (and frozen yogurt)

Discussion of the multiple birthdays this week may heave seemed noticeably absent, but in order to keep my writing as manageable as possible, I figured it would be much more efficient to lump all of the scrumptious details together. My two younger children, Josephine and Samuel, now 1 and 3 respectively, are 3 days apart. Now to most children, and parents for that matter, such a birthday overload is considered an unfortunate happening.... having to share the birthday glory, and possibly presents if there are not enough to go around, but I say this doesn't have to be so.

Our children's parties are not of the typical kind, with themed characters everywhere which seem to suck all manner of character and charm out of what should be delightful and enjoyable celebrations for not only children, but for the grown-up set as well. Even though we have a cozy little house (polite speak for small and cramped), we continue to have them at home, as opposed to random 'event room B'. Party 'packages' have become such a popular money suck, that parents are somehow missing the fact that they are in fact (over) paying to be made miserable. I hear of mothers sacrificing their preferences in order to give little Johnnie the new super ranger bouncy train extreme pizza extravaganza. This is like crack cocaine for kids; yes, once introduced to these themes, foods, and otherwise worthless experiences, they will want them, badly; but that is not to say that they have any positive affect whatsoever, or are actually any good. Children will have a great time, even if you are too, I promise! If there is a cake, and friends, and presents, and perhaps a fun game or two, they will have a happy birthday. There is, I know, a flip side to all that as well, which is why parents are lured into the afore mentioned kiddie attractions to begin with- throwing parties can be exhausting, especially when you are an OCD perfectionist, such as myself. This last Saturday, we hosted a much anticipated double party for Josephine's 3rd and my Sammie's first birthday, and I had gotten such little sleep the night before that I lost my voice 15 minutes before the party even began! I was up until 3:30 AM slicing up melons and pineapple and cutting them into shapes, whipping up homemade marshmallows, fillings for tea sandwiches that I did not end up having time to assemble the following day, and getting the texas caviar and best ever sour cream dip finished. Then it was back in the kitchen at 7 to begin work on the 6 layer coconut cake with passionfruit and vanilla bean custard filling, and the yellow buttermilk cupcakes. I had intended on decorating the cupcakes as little pigs and lions, but that idea, too, had to be scrapped, due to time constraints. My favortive confection were the homemade marshmallows on a stick, which I coated in melted chocolate, almonds and coconut. Without having a duplicate of myself, or an assistant (or both), I was not able to get everything accomplished, but I was completely happy with everything. Yes, I was exhausted, but I love it, and so I can't complain! Birthdays are the only true food-free-for-all days that my children have, where they may have whatever treats they wish, and they had a splendid time eating jelly beans and bubble gum and cake to their hearts content. We went all out and this year and even rented a bounce house as the main attraction, but unfortunately Texas heat was enough to keep even the kids from venturing outside, and so it remained empty most of the time. All in all, the party was a success... the adults were able to sit back and visit with a glass of wine, the children ran around with little juice boxes, and that was something we could all toast to.

The following Monday was Samuel's actual first birthday so, in an effort to honor my son individually, I baked him his own personal baby cake, to which he was allowed to devour without constraint...

Josephine officially turned 3 on Friday, and while we had scheduled an afternoon picnic celebration at the park, the the weather had different plans. As a consolation, we all snuggled up in bed and had a midday watching of Pinnochio, and went out for a rare family dinner to one of our favorite local restaurants, Fireside Pies, a gourmet pizzeria with terrific salads and even better sangria. To top off the birthday girl's evening, we went down the street to Cassie's, a local self serve yogurt bar, where both Isabella and Josephine were allowed to pile on all manner of fortified nastiness (this was more of a 'daddy idea'), and hopefully it was enough to satisfy them for another year!

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